- ► 2014 (8)
- ► 2013 (44)
- ▼ December (7)
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Does Not Even Nature Itself Teach You…
Does Not Even Nature Itself Teach You…
This section will be a journey for me to write because I am going to attempt to communicate some “soulish” intuitions about the nature of the man’s authority over the woman in human words. I may end up not including this section in my book if it is not written coherently, but I pray that Lord-willing you and I will learn something from this. In the past year I have been trying to understand the authority of a man over a woman as described in Paul’s instructions to the Corinthian church about the necessity for women to wear head coverings. In Paul’s instructions he conveyed that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of woman, and God is the head of Christ. The head covering is a symbol of authority on the woman’s head. Paul asks, “Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her as a covering” For a woman to pray or prophesy with her head uncovered is a disgrace. And for a man to cover his head is a disgrace. For man is the image and glory of God; and woman is the glory of man. Man does not originate from woman, but woman from man. Man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. However, in the Lord, neither man nor woman is independent from one another. (see 1 Cor 11:1-16) God created woman from the man’s rib as a helper suitable for him. The man said that she was now bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh because she was taken out of him. And for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Gen 2:20-23) Thus, there are innate God-ordained differences between men and women:
1. The woman is the glory of man.
2. The woman originates from man [was taken out of him] and becomes one with him.
3. The woman was created for man’s sake, to be a suitable helper.
I have had a list of FAQs about these things for several years and I am going to write a summary of my journey of understanding what little I have come to understand. These FAQs included “Which man am I the glory of?”, “Which man was I created for the sake of?”, “Which man am I a suitable helper for?”, “Do these items apply to myself with regard to all men, all Christian men, Christian authority figures who are men, or only my father/husband?”, “How do these things apply to me in my singleness?”, “What exactly is authority?”, “What are the implications of oneness in flesh?”…and many others.
I must admit that the culture of my upbringing does not seem to have benefited me in any way to understand the natural order that God has created. Dad and mom would have been a good example to me had I understood the true relationship between them. Dad and mom’s relationship could be described this way: mom pretends like she is the boss, but really dad is the boss and they both know it. I only realized this in the past few years, and thus most of my childhood, I was never taught and rarely, if ever, saw the God-ordained order of authority between men and woman displayed. But when I read the 1 Cor 11 and Gen 2 passage, I had realized that there is something very Spiritual and natural going on here between men and women. And yet our wicked culture has so quenched this ordination that we have altogether lost our understanding of it. I have needed the Spirit and Word to restore this lost understanding of the natural and Spiritual differences between men and women.
Firstly, I will explain my present conviction about woman’s head coverings. I went through I period of time [about 2 years ago] when I covered my head during church. I did this in faith, having felt confused and uneasy whenever I read the 1 Cor 11 passage. I had no clue if God truly wanted me to cover my head, but I did so in faith. The passage said that women should cover the heads and I decided to obey. The first Sunday that I did so was very informative. God gave me comfort in my fear of the opinions of others, and I felt a kind of protection that I had never felt before. I felt that my soul was covered by the life of Christ. Of course, this had been true since I put my faith in Him, but I felt it in greater degree. In fact, though I expected to feel more honor and respect for my earthly father, the greater effect was an increased knowledge of Christ’s covering over me. The covering seemed to remove all subtleties of sensuality, pride, and, surprisingly, insecurity. I do not know how to explain this well enough. The Sundays after that first Sunday were not so inspirational and I eventually settled into a mode where my head covering made no difference whatsoever to my heart’s attitude as it had the first Sunday. I realized that I had been given an introduction to the nature of authority. Eventually I stopped wearing a head covering and I no longer felt guilty not to do so, though that does not make me faultless. The Lord is my Judge and Savior. I was informed that in the Corinthian church culture, most noble women would cover their heads, always, not only in church. Whereas, the prostitutes of the time, who were not under the authority of a husband, father, or any other Godly man, would not cover their heads. Thus, for a woman not to cover her head indicated that she was wanton, rebellious, sensual, brazen, and forsaking of Godly authority. Thus, both the good and bad angels, who lack omniscience, could see the outward manifestation of a woman’s heart by her action of covering or not covering her head. I heard some present-day men of God explain that the application of head coverings for the present day would be for a woman not to dress in the same way as the worldly women of the present day, but rather in a way that shows that she is in submission to Christ and Godlyauthorities. So though the prostitutes and magazine-cover women wear sensual clothing, I ought to be set-apart in purity and chastity in the way that I dress. My present conviction is that I ought to dress in a way that honors God and shows myself as set-apart from the culture of the day, in a way that shows I am in submission to God and my father, and not looking for inordinate affairs with wrong types of people. If God truly wants me to cover my head, I pray that He brings me to the point of conviction again…
So my inward grappling with the ideals behind head coverings introduced me to these Spiritual mysteries of the God-ordained structure between men and women. Another event that happened was when Anand told me something very heart-breaking last year, and I thank him, because the hurt of it has healed with the Truth that I learned thereafter in my pursuit of comfort. He said, “Not many men are going to be able to lead you” and it stung greatly. I replied earnestly, “What do you mean? Why? What is wrong with me?” He replied that a man has to be extremely Godly to lead me. I initially started to comfort myself with the thought that I really was not as Godly as Anand thought and that he had not really seen my bad side completely. I also questioned what exactly a man needed to be able to lead me. Did he have to be much more intelligent than me? Did he have to have more knowledge of the Bible than me? Did he have to have a deeper prayer life than men? Did he have to simply be 20 years older or 2 feet taller than me so that there was no way I could threaten his authority? Did he have to just be approved of by dad and Anand? Did he have to be extremely strong in the areas where my flesh is weak? LORD, WHAT DOES A MAN NEED IN ORDER TO LEAD ME??? After Anand made this comment, I asked dad whether he thought that there were men who could lead me. His response was even more strange, “Yes, there are probably some men out there, but they would have to be very humble and desire only to build God’s Kingdom”. So then, again, I started questioning, “Does the man need to have a greater desire for God’s Kingdom’s advance than me to lead me?” and “Why would humility help a man lead me?”
My first glimmer of hope came from The Story of Ian and Larissa, for which I am very grateful to God. Ian underwent a serious accident during their “courtship” and was put in a wheel-chair, unable to work, have children, speak properly, and other disabilities”. Larissa chose to marry him. She sacrificed her life to take care of him and to show him love and respect as his wife. The one thing that caused me to understand more about what a man needs in order to lead a woman was her sharing about how her husband led her. She gave an example in which Ian would just barely, with great struggle, be able to mumble the words, “God is good”, and Larissa would be led by these words and her soul would follow his lead for the day by his statement. Larissa was choosing to be led by Ian who could not work, elaborately teach or speak, give her children, physically comfort, or do most of the things which young women dream of their husbands doing for them. And yet, she wholeheartedly was led by him. What did Ian have that he could lead Larissa? What did Larissa have that she could be led by him? I realized that Ian had exactly what he needed: he had the anointing of the Spirit, faith, and the love of Christ. Larissa had exactly what she needed: humility, purity, faithfulness, servant-hood, and respect. She clearly understood the Biblical premise that she was made for her husband and sacrificed many earthly comforts to fulfill God’s calling in her life. She notes that God gave her a supernatural joy and peace in the midst of her sacrifice. She likely feels very blessed by Ian and does not consider herself as having made a sacrifice. Their testimony has encouraged numerous saints throughout the world to truly seek God to use their marriages to display the eternal Covenant between Christ and the church.
There were several other questions I had when I felt anointed by the Spirit to write letters to the saints that I know. I knew that women were not to speak in the church or to authoritatively teach men and that positions of authority such as pastor and eldership were to be granted to men alone. Unlike some other women who felt threatened by these church ordinances, I felt protected by them. I felt extremely uncomfortable trying to imagine myself being a leader/teacher in the church over men [sorry, but I sometimes could not help but imagine every possible scenario of a given train of thought]. It felt like blaspheme to my soul to think of assuming any authority over any man, even young men. I attribute this feeling to the ordinate desires granted to me in my regenerated spirit. The flesh must be crucified continually in order to walk according to the desires of the regenerated spirit. I currently have much peace in writing letters, knowing that I assume no authority over men, and that I am under Christ’s and my earthly father’s authority. And if I speak Truth from the Scriptures, God in His authority uses His Word with His own power in the hearts of His people. It appears that the Godly men who are very secure in their God-given manhood, are most willing to be encouraged by a sister in Christ with no fear, because they understand my soul, and do not view me as an authoritative teacher, but as a dear sister who is sharing her testimony of her heart/minds interaction with the Word for the encouragement of the saints. My conscience is clear, because I have assumed no authority over men, and Lord willing, I write in agape and humility. I thought back to the state of my soul in the presence of men over the years. I realized that whenever I had been in the presence of a man, my soul subconsciously went under the headship of some of them. It was not something I consciously decided to have happen, but if I was in the presence of men, especially Christian men who had the Spirit of God indwelling them, my soul somehow yielded itself in respect. My voice and demeanor became more respectful, quieter, and gentle. Even if I was sharing a testimony of something God was teaching me [“praying and prophesying”], if men were present, my physical being subjected itself to my soul’s submission to any Spiritual male heads present. Whereas, I noticed that when I was with only women and children, I became more authoritative and outspoken, and assumed more responsibility. Sadly, there were probably some instances in my earlier life as a teenager when my soul was wrongly seduced to respect men that I ought to have avoided and I was quite uncomfortable and “lost” in doing so. Any yokes apart from Christ and His ordained yokes are cruel masters. I realize now that every inordinate affair in a woman’s heart originates from the inordinate subjection of her soul to the wrong authority. Though in some sense, coarse sensuality in a woman defies the authority of all men and she seeks to usurp her role as a woman by her wantonness. Eventually, I learned that not only did a man need the Lord’s anointing [the clear, humble, and loving heart of faith] to lead me, but God had given me a natural inclination to follow the man. These inclinations of Godly men to lead and of Godly women to follow are items which are manifested in the heavenly realms. The nature of such authority and submission structure is instituted by God in the heavenly realms, being manifested in our physical behavior. This structure does not depend on and does not even necessarily involve the physical talents of either man or woman. Thus, a woman like Larissa who is physically stronger, smarter, and more “able” in an earthly sense at just about everything than Ian, can submit to, honor, respect, and follow her husband. And Ian can truly lead Larissa with a clear conscience and a strong bold authority with no qualms about his physical weaknesses. Why? Because this authority structure is ordained by God and it remains. “When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all (1 Cor 15:28)”
My understanding was confirmed by some words from a sermon by Paul Washer, “Recovering Biblical Womanhood”. He explains [min 10-12] that though a woman is able to be fulfilled and sustained in all ways by Christ, she was also made to be Spiritually led by Godly men. I have realized that if I am walking by faith, my soul immediately and faithfully resorts under the headship of God-ordained authorities: always my parents, and other Godly men such as Anand. However, the saints throughout the world are living in a day when most men are not taking responsibility to abide in the Word; this has greatly limited the pool of Godly men to which Godly women ought to submit themselves to [of course, we must show proper respect to all men].
Just as there is a Spiritual order of headship between man and woman, there is also a type of authority that is granted to the elderly. A gray hair is a crown of glory (Prov 16:31) and the Israelites were commanded to rise up before the gray headed, to honor the aged, and to revere their Lord and God (Lev 19:32). One reason why the elderly are to be given respect, is that there is a general tendency for older men to have more wisdom and experience. For foolishness is bound in a child’s heart, but wisdom and understanding accompanies ages men and a long life (Job 12:12). We remember the example of King Rehoboam who was given good advice by his elders, yet, he rejected his counsel and listened to the evil younger men’s counsel (1 Chron 10). Peter told the younger men to be subject to their elders and to clothe themselves with humility towards one another (1 Peter 5:5). Paul told Timothy not to sharply rebuke and older man, but to rather appeal to him as a father (1 Tim 5:1). However, there is something that seems to surpass the authority of age itself, and that is the subjection of the soul of a man to Christ. As King David says, “I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Your precepts (Ps 119:100)”. Similarly, Paul told Timothy not to let anyone look down on his youthfulness, but to show himself as an example to the believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity (1 Tim 4:12). When a man is walking by the Spirit, regardless of his age or physical talent, Godly authority is bestowed to him. Another example of this is God’s sovereign election of Jacob over Esau. God told Rebekah that the older would serve the younger (Rom 9:12).
Finally, there is something about the nature of a man and woman’s oneness in flesh that is in stark contrast to what the world teaches us about the relationship between men and women. For in secular media, our society and our children are constantly taught that the love of a man for a woman is conditional. She must be irresistibly beautiful all the time, a wonder woman, money-making, interior decorating, cuisine artist, socially adept, perfect mother….in order to be loved by her husband. Somehow, the world teaches us that women who are not beautiful, physically talented, or capable are not worthy of unconditional love. The beautiful irresistible damsel in distress is rescued, saved, and sacrificed for…but the rest of the real damsels in the world who are not beautiful or “worthy” are left in the pit of destruction. Do we see how utterly contradictory this is to the nature of our Christ for His bride. While we were still sinners, in horrifying distortion of Spiritual beauty, He demonstrated His love to give Himself for us. He calls us a part of Himself. Each one is apt to love and take care of himself, whether or not he thinks himself to be worthy. Similarly, for a man to consider his wife to be one flesh with himself, he shows her unconditional love, whether or not she is worthy. Here in this love, she is filled with deep respect for him, and in her deep respect, his heart is filled with tender response….you know how this goes J. There is a general tenderness that all Godly men are to have for all Godly woman as Paul tells Timothy to treat the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity (1 Tim 5:2).
I could go on and on but will stop here. I am still in the process of understanding these things which once upon a time, were understood in the hearts of many, but in our ungodly and crooked generation, are like buried treasure, that only the Spirit and Word can revive in our hearts and minds.